INTERVIEW WITH RYAN NEIHEISER AND CHRISTINA ARGYROU FROM NEIHEISER ARGYROS
Neiheiser Argyros was founded by Ryan Neiheiser and Christina Argyrou, based in London and Athens. The interests of the studio are not determined by a specific pattern, the founders see architectural design as a conversation, a relaxed exchange of forms and ideas. Neiheiser Argyros operates in Europe and the USA.
How would you describe your style and personal signature, which characterizes your work on a project?
Our work does not have a specific style or signature. We consider architecture as a huge field of possibilities, innovations, and experimentation, an arena where ideas can constantly evolve and transform the world around us. The best architecture emerges from ardent desires and passionate positions - while by its very nature it is messy, exuberant, evolving, and incomplete. Therefore, we do not want to limit it to stylistic "boxes".
Our work consists of a combination of instinct and intuition. It is motivated by the local detail of each project, the particular concerns, questions, correlations, agendas, and dissertations that develop in each time and space. It is free from prejudices but full of our different and often irreconcilable obsessions.
What inspires you in your work, do you have a muse or a source from which you get inspiration?
Recently we have been influenced by the poetry of Douglas Kreis, the power of the "patch" command in the Rhino program, the Roman concrete arches, the paintings of Robert Mangold, Dimitris Pikionis, the air insulation, the mosaic floor, the mosaic floor, the geometry of the gutters, Chet Baker, the Facebook skyline, the naive optimism of our students and the writing of Hannah Arendt. These fragments, passing interests, software, words, geometries, systems, stories, and cultures are our source of inspiration these days.
Enter the role of prophet and predict how you see the city of the future in 50 years? What will the architecture look like then?
The future is unpredictable and multiple. The constant onslaught of ecological, political, economic, and humanitarian crises has left us all exhausted, defensive, and even indifferent. However, as architects, we must constantly find energy for optimism. Architectural composition is by nature a promising endeavor. It, therefore, requires us to imagine the future, to move forward, to critique the already existing and to dare to suggest something better. For us, despite the overwhelming news we hear every day, the promise of the future lies in the constant connection between local and global, between individual and community. During the pandemic, as we all sit separately in our living rooms, gazing at the many different websites that spread across the internet, through screens and dysfunctional internet connections, one realizes how we all share a global network, a common space of collectivity. The "local" with the "global" converge into one, and against all odds, the community persists and evolves. Architecture, placed in a specific context, adapted to the clutter of individual life, involved in the flow of world capital, and recklessly trying to capture the whole of human experience, may emerge as the most appropriate new medium for change, a new policy framework turmoil, community building, and ecological appropriation.
Who is the architect whose projects inspire you the most?
Most recently Etienne Boullee, Nicolas Louis Durand, Adalberti Libera, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
What is your favorite book and what are you currently reading?
This fall with our students at AA (Architectural Association) we did a careful reading of Hannah Arendt's book "Vita Activa". Referring to the ancient Greek city, it describes the way in which citizens create the public sphere by making their active appearance in space, participating in discussions, and connecting their words with deeds. This "space of appearances", as he famously calls it, is more necessary than ever and continues to motivate and influence our work as architects.